Darden looks to takeout and delivery for Olive Garden sales growth

By Frazer Jones
Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants Inc. has been struggling for a while now. Those struggles came to a head last year, as CEO Clarence Otis...

Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants Inc. has been struggling for a while now. Those struggles came to a head last year, as CEO Clarence Otis stepped down and shareholders voted to replace all 12 Darden board members in one fell swoop, and since then the restaurant company has been working hard on different concepts to breathe new life into its flagship casual dining brand. According to the latest reports, Darden is now looking to new possibilities in takeout and delivery to give Olive Garden a much needed revenue boost.

RELATED CONTENT: Darden Restaurants Shakeup: All Twelve Board Members Replaced in Preliminary Vote

Yesterday Darden Restaurants announced its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ending on May 31, 2015. In these reports Darden reported several fiscal year highlights, including a 7.6 percent total sales increase to $6.76 billion and a same-restaurant sales increase of 2.4 percent.

“We are pleased with our improved performance during the fourth quarter,” stated said CEO Gene Lee in the announcement. “The momentum we have built during the second half of the fiscal year gives us confidence that our back-to-basics focus – which is rooted in strong operating fundamentals around food, service and atmosphere – is resonating with our guests.”

RELATED CONTENT: Olive Garden is Crowdsourcing Its Way to a Better Menu

With 4 percent total annual sales growth and 1.3 percent same store sales growth, Olive Garden has been improving but not at the same speed as other Darden brands like LongHorn Steakhouse or The Capital Grille. According to Fortune magazine, a conference call with Darden CEO Gene Lee revealed that Olive Garden’s growth so far has been steady over the past 10 months due to tech upgrades that have allowed consumers to order takeout.

RELATED CONTENT: Why Olive Garden Launched the Never Ending Pasta Pass

The company plans greatly expand its take-out options, in particular through a rollout of delivery for even large parties. Darden is also continuing its rollout of other upgrades including tabletop tablets for ordering, plus screens in waiting areas to let consumers know how long their wait will be and where they are in line. Darden executives hope that these appeals to convenience will entice consumers to revisit Olive Garden and will boost the chain toward a higher rate of growth in the fiscal year to come.

“To-go is only going to get more and more important to the customer,” Lee reportedly told analysts during the conference call. “It’s all about building on the convenience trend.”

[SOURCE: Fortune]

Let's connect!   

Check out the latest edition of Food Drink & Franchise!


Featured Articles

CP Kelco and Tate & Lyle Partner for Food & Beverage Sector

CP Kelco and Tate & Lyle are set to merge, creating a global powerhouse in food and beverage product development and customer service solutions

New Biotechnology Serves Benefits to the Food Industry

Major companies Danone, Michelin and DMC, collaborate to create a biotechnology platform to better the food industry through upgraded fermentation use.

Nestlé Announces New CEO Alongside Future Investment Plans

Nestlé appoints Guillaume Le Cunff as new CEO of Zone Europe, along with future plans surrounding sustainability, mergers and acquisitions and innovation.

Danone Launches new Global Training Programme


Mondelēz Cements Snacks Industry Position With Biscuit Lab


Sainsbury's Targets Sustainable Cocoa by 2025